JAKARTA, NNC - The remnants of giant bat fossils that lived in New Zealand millions of years ago have been found in the South Island of the country.
Teeth and bones of the extinct bat was found to be three times larger than the average modern bat.
The bat, which weighed about 40 grams, not only flew but also crawled for food.
The fossils were discovered in ancient sediments near the town of St. Bathans.
A team of international scientists made the discovery and their findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports, Wednesday (1/10/2018).
The bat was named Vulcanops jennyworthyae after the name of research team member Jenny Worthy who discovered the fossil, and Vulcan the god of fire and a mythical Roman volcano.
The study implies that the bat’s large size of teeth means that the bat had a different diet than the current Australasian bat.
"Its special teeth and large size indicates it has a different diet, able to eat more plant foods and also small vertebrates – more like some of its cousins in South America," said study author Professor Sue Hand of the University of New South Wales.
"We do not see this in the current Australasia bat," she said as quoted by BBC website on Friday (1/12).
The excavator bat has only been found in New Zealand, although it has also lived in Australia.
This is the first bat genus added to the New Zealand fauna in more than 150 years.